FREEING YOURSELF FROM THE CAGE OF IDENTITY
Wayne Dyer tells a story about a man from India who travels to Africa and while there encounters a flock of beautiful parrots. He is enamored by them and decides to catch one to take home with him.
When he gets home with his new pet he puts him in a cage and does all sorts of kind things for him. He feeds him good food and plays with him each day. He teaches him to talk and perform tricks. A few years later the man travels to Africa again and before he leaves he asks his pet if there is any message that he would like to convey to his parrot friends back home. The parrot says "Yes, tell them that I am happy here living in my cage. Let them know that I have a good life." So, the man leaves for his trip, finds the parrot's friends and relays the message. Right after the man finishes one of the parrots looks at him with sad eyes, almost as if he were crying and drops to the ground dead. The man is surprised, but assumes that the dead parrot must have been a good friend of his pet and that his heart was broken.
He arrives home and tells his pet of the unfortunate circumstance of his dead friend. After telling his pet this sad news, the parrot looks at him with the same pained eyes and drops to the bottom of the cage, dead. This astonishes the man. Once again the man assumes that his pet must have been so close to the dead parrot and his heart was broken. He picks the dead parrot up and takes him out to the trash heap where he throws the dead bird on top. As soon as the bird lands on the trash heap, he suddenly opens his wings and flies up into the nearest tree.
The man is angered by this and says, "You tricked me! You are not dead at all! Why did you do this and pretend to be dead?" The parrot looks at him and says, "My friend sent me a message through you, and that is if you are trapped in a cage you must die first in order to escape."
Jesus Christ says in Matthew 16:25 "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
We often put ourselves in cages of our own making, by our thoughts and actions. If we want to free ourselves, we must be willing to lose ourselves. To lose OUR identity. To lose the desire to blame and become the victim. We must be willing to think and do things that we have never done before. To become aware of what can happen, not what we think or assume will happen. We create identities for ourselves by thinking and acting on thoughts that are not real. Are you really stuck or is it just your thoughts that make you feel stuck? It is as freeing as opening wings and flying, if we allow ourselves to let go of the thoughts and actions that have trapped us into a life that we never wanted to live.
Take the time today to look at your life. What cage have your built that you want to free yourself from. Maybe it's some type of addiction. Maybe it is constant negative thinking that keeps you from achieving dreams or appreciating and loving those around you. Maybe it is health difficulties that you feel are keeping you trapped in a body that doesn't seem to work right. Can you lose that life? Can you allow yourself to let go of those thoughts that are trapping you and keeping you caged?
Part of letting go of thoughts that trap you is thinking new thoughts. Allowing yourself to dream. For something to change you must dream of changing it first. Henry David Thoreau said "Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves." Only in allowing yourself to feel lost, to lose your life will you be able to gain the life you desire. What is the life that you want to live? What is it that you want to have happen? We spend so little time dreaming and so much time worrying. If you could let go of that cage you have built through your "identity" who would you be?
Thoreau also said "In the long run, men only hit what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high." If we never spend any time with our true selves, the selves that are without "identity", we never figure out our dreams. What is it that you are aiming for? Take time to figure out who you want to be and believe that you can become that person. Let go of that old life and fly free from the cage that is called "identity" and see who emerges.